Ibrox View: Unmistakable flaw will surely put Gerrard off mooted Rangers raid this summer
At this stage, you would probably have to argue that Rangers are firm favourites to land Ianis Hagi at the end of the season.
The Gers are understood to have an option-to-buy clause written into the 21-year-old’s loan deal from Belgian side Genk, and with the asking price said to be around £4.5 million, you would be inclined to argue that he represents good value for money.
That being said, Football Insider report that Steven Gerrard’s men are still unsure as to whether or not they should make a permanent move for the Romanian.
His future is further complicated by a claim from Italian outlet Corriere Dello Sport that Lazio are keen to take him to Serie A, with a separate report from the Scottish Sun stating that both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur have both enquired too.
With that in mind, nothing is set in stone, and therefore, you can understand why potential alternatives to the playmaker are being mooted.
One such name is that of Fulham youngster Matt O’Riley.
A report from Glasgow Live names the teenager as one of four players that the Gers could turn to if Hagi does depart, claiming that the midfielder is regarded as the next big thing at Craven Cottage following Harvey Elliott’s exit to Liverpool.
It also suggests that he is being watched by European giants like Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, and RB Leipzig.
But does he have what it takes to cut it for the Gers?
Well, he may have been limited to just one Championship appearance this season, but the signs are promising.
Factoring in EFL Trophy matches too, O’Riley has averaged a pass completion rate of 88.2%, as well as a total action success rate in excess of 75%, and 3.17 successful dribbles per game this term, as per Wyscout.
As a point of reference, Hagi’s pass completion rate its 13% lower, and he has completed just 56.1% of his total actions.
There are some issues, however.
Firstly, O’Riley is playing at a much lower level.
Is his potential genuine, or is it a case of him being a big fish in a small pond?
Finding out could be too much of a gamble for the Gers to take.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, his xG is just 0.07 per game, while he has failed to register a single goal or assist all term.
That’s a major, major concern, and one that will no doubt prevent the Gers from making a move.
If he can work on his end product, he could be an exciting option further down the line, but right now, bring in somebody with more proven pedigree.
In other Rangers news, Ibrox View: Superb gesture from under fire Gers talent shows true hallmark of greatness.